Photos: Sachyn Mital

Holiday Mirth at 2018’s Penultimate ‘Live From Here’

Jon Batiste, St. Vincent, Sara Watkins and Jim Gaffigan were Chris Thile's special guests at the last Live From Here show for the season.

Live From Here
Chris Thile

The host of American Public Media’s Live From Here show, Chris Thile, possesses an earnestness that is genuinely enough to draw in listeners. But at the third of four recent broadcasts from the Town Hall in New York, the inclusion of performers Jon Batiste and St. Vincent drew me to attend the broadcast in person.

Thile had joined Batiste for a song or two during the finale of this year’s Newport Folk Festival, and the two are genuinely happy sharing a stage (though it wasn’t until the the final portion of the show that they played together). In the first half of the show, Batiste wowed with audience with thrilling performances of “Green Hill Zone” and “Nocture No 1 in D Minor” (both from his latest album Hollywood Africans) and earned a standing ovation.

St. Vincent was joined by Thomas Bartlett to perform adaptations of songs from her Masseduction record. The two had performed together several times already this year and released the reworkings as Masseducation. In the second half, the duo performed the bi-coastal combo of “Los Ageless” and “New York”, great tracks in either incarnation.

In and around the guests, Thile was joined by Sara Watkins and some of the Punch Brothers (Noam Pikelny, Chris Eldridge) to celebrate the holidays with touches of holiday tunes. Before the broadcast, Thile did a quick run through of an audience sing-along “O Little Town of Bethlehem” (sheet music was handed out before the show) for later performance. And special guest Jim Gaffigan built his short set around Jesus’s birthday and earned pretty good laughs. It happens to be the same date as his brother’s while Gaffigan himself shares a birthday with Ringo Starr.

The final Live From Here of the year will be broadcast from the Town Hall in NYC and will include more holiday merriment and guests Rosanne Cash, the Knights, and Gaby Moreno. Tickets and information can be found here. An audio stream of the broadcast can be found here though the video below of “My Oh My” was made after the broadcast ended — be sure to watch.

My Oh My